The release of the new Queen movie, “Bohemian Rhapsody”, has focused attention on the band’s larger-than-life frontman, Freddie Mercury. Mercury died in 1991, but he continues to be an iconic figure. He’s also probably the most famous Zanzibari of all time.
By visiting Driftwood Beach Lodge for a Zanzibar beach holiday, you can also explore Stone Town, where Mercury was born and where he spent his early childhood. As Zanzibar residents ourselves, we can point you in the direction of key locations in Freddie’s story, as well as give you advice on what else to see in Stone Town.
We will rock you
As music fans, we’ve made it our (show) business to investigate Freddie Mercury’s Zanzibar roots, so if you come here as a Queen fan, we can show you where to go. Of course, even if you’re not into Bohemian Rhapsody, you can still spend many rewarding hours exploring Stone Town’s narrow, winding alleys and sneaking peeks through its fabulous carved wooden doorways.
Mercury was born in Stone Town –the capital of Zanzibar –in 1946, the child of Parsee parents from Persia via India. The Government Hospital where he was born still stands, one of several buildings in Stone Town linked to the singer.
He was given the name Farrokh Bulsara and lived with his family in an apartment overlooking the Indian Ocean. You can visit the family home –now a museum –and also the court where his father worked. There is even a Freddie Mercury restaurant.
Organised tours can show you all of these Mercury memories, and the team at Driftwood Beach Lodge can arrange bookings for you. Alternatively, if you want to explore Freddie’s island at your own pace, we can give you advice on where to go for the most authentic experiences.
These are the days of our lives
After schooling in India, Mercury returned to Zanzibar as a teenager, and some of the activities his friends remember him enjoying are still some of the best ways to spend time on the island. Mercury apparently loved to ride his bike to the beaches in the south of Zanzibar –such as Jambiani, where today you’ll find Driftwood Beach Lodge. He was also a keen swimmer.
In other words, the boy who would grow up to be the flamboyant rocker had a keen appreciation of the wonder of Zanzibar. We may not be able to sing like him, but we can certainly identify with his love of Zanzibar’s beaches and the warm ocean.
We are the champions
More importantly, when you come to Driftwood Beach Lodge, we can provide you with all the information you need for the best possible Zanzibar holiday.
From the best restaurants in Stone Town to where to hire bikes, who to fish or dive with and which excursions to book, the Driftwood Beach Lodge team love sharing their knowledge of Zanzibar. Freddie Mercury’s family left the island back in 1964, and a lot has changed since then. But we like to think that there was something of the colour and magic of Zanzibar in Mercury’s music and his incredible stage presence.
Like everyone on Zanzibar, we’re immensely proud of all that he achieved, and we’re looking forward to more music fans coming to see Freddie Mercury’s Zanzibar. The island may not feature in the new movie, but it was a huge part of the singer’s life.
There is no shortage of things to see and do in Stone Town, or of Zanzibar activities to enjoy, but by choosing to follow in the footsteps of the Queen singer, you can also experience some of the island’s musical heritage, fascinating diversity, and lasting influence on world culture. Mercury himself sang, “who wants to live forever?”, and it seems his legacy will.